CARSON, Calif. – Subriel Matias has racked up enough knockouts to know when his opponent is ready to go and when there is still some fight left.
Both experiences came into play in his recent stoppage win over Kazakhstan’s Batyrzhan Jukembayev (18-1, 14KOs), whose corner pulled him from the fight after the 8th round of their IBF title eliminator. Matias (17-1, 17KOs) scored a 3rd round knockdown and hurt the unbeaten southpaw on a number of occasions, though sensed he had to keep digging even after wearing him down.
“I have to raise my hands to (Jukembayev),” Matias told BoxingScene.com. “He put up a great fight and was very competitive. I’ve faced some very good fighters but he was the toughest test I've had so far.”
Jukembayev made his presence felt both before and after the knockdown. The Kazakh contender had Matias hurt in round four and again late in round seven, the latter after which Jukembayev was seemingly ready to go. The shot caught Matias off guard, though showing a world class chin in weathering the sequence to regain his composure and close the show.
“After that fourth round, I mean he is a very competitive fighter, so it turned into a war after that point,” noted Matias, who has now knocked out three unbeaten opponents within his last five fights. “He knew he had nothing to lose.
“He came in and was throwing everything with power. He knew that all he could do was knock me out to win. I would have done the same thing. That’s a warrior’s heart and he has all my respect.”
Matias is now the number-two contender for the IBF junior welterweight title currently held by undisputed champion Josh Taylor (18-0, 13KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox